2021 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: 73/100 (73%) (Last week: 2/4)
2020 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: (74%)
2019 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: (64%)
2018 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: (58%)
Line Betting: (46%)
2017 Season Results:
Head-to-Head Tipping: 66%
Line Betting: 55%
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- With Origin having been played on Wednesday, there will no doubt be questions surrounding the availability of the rep players all weekend long, and unfortunately the two games that could be most heavily impacted by any surprise omissions both land on Friday night – less than 48 hours after Origin I. At 6pm we’ll have the ultimate one-man team, the Sea Eagles, heading into battle without their ‘one man’ (Tom Trbojevic). The last time we saw the Eagles, they were getting embarrassed by a reserve-grade Knights squad (a Knights squad that would proceed to cop a 36-point hiding from Parra a week later). The cause of their disappointing performance was quite straightforward – Turbo had a quiet game (he is human, after all). After racking up an obscene 8 tries, 11 line breaks, 13 try assists and 16 line break assists through his first 6 games (honestly, those numbers are absolutely outrageous), Turbo produced just a single line break assist against Newie, and nothing else. And without Turbo ripping the defense apart, who stepped up to do the heavy lifting? Nobody. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise; in the Eagles’ 5 matches without Turbo to open the season, they won just 1, never topped 13 points in a game, and lost by a collective scoreline of 168-47. Clearly, the Sea Eagles are suffering the effects of some absolutely diabolical roster construction, which has never been more evident than in the team named this week. Having lost Sean Keppie and Zac Saddler, Des Hasler was forced to name a team on Tuesday with not one, not two, but three(?) centres on the bench. And if that’s not bad enough, they’re spending more on each of those centres (Moses Suli, Dylan Walker and Ben Trbojevic) than the two actual starters combined (if you include at least some of the $800k+ being pissed away on the God of Plod was a down-payment on keeping his brothers, Tom and Ben). Since Tom’s been ruled out they’ve since promoted Walker to fullback, but that’s not likely to provide better value for money – in his 5 starts there to open the year, Walker provided 0 tries, 0 line breaks, 0 try assists and 3 line break assists. And is if the Sea Eagles won’t be struggling enough without their best player, the Cowboys will be getting their own best player, Jason Taumalolo, back from suspension. When you consider the many ailments of Manly’s depleted pack, to force what’s left into playing long minutes against a Taumalolo-led pack benefiting from a three-forward bench rotation just seems cruel. We never feel excited about tipping the Cows, but given the husk of a team left for Manly, we don’t feel like we have a choice.
- Unlike the Eagles, the Panthers are anything but a one-man team, but with seven players involved in Origin, they’re not looking like a slam dunk tip, either. Here, our primary concern is the failure of either Nathan Cleary or Jarome Luai to back up. Matt Burton is a stud, but Tyrone May was a loooooong way from an NRL standard halfback against Wests, and with Burton forced to carry the entire load, the Panthers produced their 2nd-lowest LBVOA of the season. That was almost enough against Wests, but they likely need to improve significantly against a Sharks side coming off a 38-10 pumping of the Titans. Fortunately, the Panthers will be welcoming back Api Koroisau, who we expect to provide significantly better direction (the amount of time Penrith spent attacking to May’s right edge was baffling considering his total ineffectiveness), and we don’t consider the remaining absences to be deal-breakers. Robert Jennings was superb in relief of Brian To’o, channeling his inner Josh Mansour as he churned out 50 extraordinarily slow post-contact metres (2nd-most in the team); the return of Moses Leota allows Spencer Leniu to return to his usual bench role (Leniu came into the game as the team leader in metres-per-carry, only to completely gas out and get benched in 17 minutes, finishing the game with a dismal 31 metres on 4 carries); while Liam Martin’s inclusion should provide a bit more punch to last week’s impotent right edge (importantly, it also frees up Scott Sorenson to return to the middle where he’s been more effective). This team will be a lot better than last week, and should have an easier time against a pretty weak Cronulla pack. However, with May still in the halves we’re certainly not ruling Cronulla out, and consider them good value at around $2.40.
- Over at the Roosters, we’re not terribly fussed whether James Tedesco backs up or not – the Titans’ defense is completely incapable of stopping anyone, with last weekend making it 8 games in a row they’ve conceded 20+, this time against a reserve grade Melbourne outfit. Here, they’ll be meeting a Roosters side who’ve made 6 or more line breaks in 75% of their matches this season, and who are getting Angus Crichton – arguably the in-form second-rower of the competition – back from suspension. Tedesco or not, this looks like a total mismatch.
- The Rabbitohs are certain to be without Origin stars Dane Gagai and Jai Arrow after Wayne Bennett omitted them from the squad, with the side’s other representatives (Latrell Mitchell, Damien Cook, Cameron Murray and Jaydn Su’a) possibilities. We don’t necessarily expect the full complement to back up three days after Origin, but given the current state of the Knights roster, we doubt it matters anyway. Newcastle have been completely decimated by injury (despite not drawing anywhere near the coverage of the Roosters’ supposed “injury crisis”), with the side currently missing a host of stars, including Mitch Pearce, Tyson Frizell, David Klemmer, Edrick Lee and (the one that matters) Kalyn Ponga. Ponga holds the key to the Knights’ competitiveness, with the side’s LBVOA dropping from 6.75% when he plays to -5.40% when he doesn’t. With the Knights sporting the 4th-worst defense in football, they are completely ill-equipped to win games with any sort of attacking drop-off. Once Ponga returns for their extraordinarily soft run home (they don’t play any current Top 8 teams in the final six weeks), they could be a sneaky shot to go on a tear; but this week, undermanned, and against a Souths side who’ve scored 26+ in 8 of 12 matches so far? Pass.
- After giving backing the Broncos to roll an out-of-sorts Dragons side last weekend and being made to look superbly stupid, it’s fair to say we won’t be doing that again here. However, with the Broncos currently at $3.25 and facing a Raiders side who’ve only won 1 game since Round 5 (heck, even Brisbane’s won 2 in that period), they surely have to be a value play, right? Perhaps the most frustrating part of tipping the Broncos (besides having to watch them play) is that they’re genuinely not bad while ever the game is competitive. Unfortunately, they just have the resilience of a wet paper towel. Take last weekend, for example. Through the first half they went punch-for-punch with the Dragons, going into the break trailing by just 10 metres, 1 line break and 6 points. The game couldn’t have been more even. But having conceded a deflating try on the bell (a try for which Jamayne Isaako has understandably been relieved of playing duties), they went into full meltdown, getting smoked in the second stanza by 308 metres, 5 line breaks and 22 points. The difference in performance was chalk-and-cheese. And this seems to be a pattern for Brisbane – in all 3 of their wins (a small sample size, we know), they’ve been either winning or even at the break. In the only other 3 games they were leading at half-time (all against sides currently in the Top 8), they were extremely competitive, losing by an average margin of less than 6. But when they’ve gone into the sheds losing at half-time, they’ve subsequently lost mental touch with the game, losing by an average margin of 30.7. So, we’re sure you can see why we find Brisbane so frustrating – here’s a team good enough to compete with sides like Sydney, Penrith and Parramatta, but who immediately give up at the first sign of adversity. And so it becomes less about how good Brisbane are, and more an assessment of how much resistance their opponents will bring. In the case of the Raiders, the answer has lately been ‘not very much’, with the Canberrans giving up 18+ in their past 8 straight matches, and 30+ in 5 of those. If there’s a defense the Broncos should be able to put a few past, this is surely it. But with Kevin Walters once again reshuffling his halves (apparently the wheel stopped on Karmichael Hunt this week) and facing a hostile (and chilly) home crowd in Canberra, we just can’t be confident enough to tip them again head-to-head. But if you can get on them at $3.25, I suppose I’m ready to be hurt again.
- By Sunday, you’d have to think that most of the Origin players would be well recovered and a good chance of suiting up, making the Storm‘s sizeable Origin contingent less of an issue (although Christian Welch has already been ruled out with concussion). Funnily enough, the most significant out in this game has nothing to do with Origin – Reece Walsh copped a one-game suspension from the Warriors’ heartbreaking loss to the Cowboys, and will be sitting this one out. Outside of Tom Turbo at Manly, it would be hard to find a single player who has had as big an impact on his side in 2021 as Walsh. Since his arrival, the Warriors’ LBVOA has lifted from -14.89% (12th in the NRL) to 22.17% (3rd), with Walsh personally involved in 14 line breaks in just 6 games. This impact has lifted the Warriors’ attacking output by almost 1.5 tries per game, and has only failed to result in more wins due to the brutality of their schedule (they’ve played just 1 team outside the Top 8 since his arrival; a game they won against Wests). Once they get this week’s loss out of the way (and we love the kid, but they probably lose this game even with him; without him we’re not interested at all), they’ll get Walsh back, they’ll get Addin Fonua-Blake back (he’s actually named on an extended bench this week), and face just 3 current Top 8 sides in their final 11 games (one of which is against the Dragons, and as such is definitely winnable). In short, if you’re looking for a smokey to make the finals – this is your team. Just not this week.
- There’s never been a flat-track bully quite like the Eels, and few teams are known for providing a flatter track than our old friends, the Tigers. Don’t be fooled by the Tigers’ chest-beating after holding the “Panthers” to just 6 points – that side was essentially a NSW Cup squad, and would have had the Tigers 12-all in the second half anyway were it not for a bizarre no-try ruling against Matt Burton for an “escort”. This is the same crummy defense that’s leaked 30+ on 7 separate occasions this year; the same crummy defense that’s conceded 5+ line breaks in 10 different games; the same crummy defense that got hammered for 36 points by this very same Parramatta team back in Round 4. The loss of Reed Mahoney will certainly affect the Eels’ offense, but not likely by enough to limit the Eels’ scoring opportunities against this defensive unit. So, the real question will be: do the Tigers have enough points in them to keep up? On one hand, they’ve now scored 26+ in their past 5 matches; on the other hand, 3 of those matches were against bottom-8 defenses, with the other 2 against severely depleted Dragons and Panthers sides. We don’t particularly rate the Eels’ D, and so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Tigers nudge the 26 point mark again here. However, we strongly prefer the Eels’ forward pack, and accordingly expect Parramatta to have a smorgasbord of scoring opportunities, from which they should find enough tries to win. We expect a shoot-out, with Parra eventually pulling away (though taking Wests at $4 is probably a +EV play).
- The Bulldogs have yet to score more than 20 in a game this year, and have conceded less than 20 just once. Seriously, do you actually need us to tell you not to pick the Bulldogs? Fine. Don’t pick the Bulldogs. Ever.